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Why EQ Matters More Than IQ in the Workplace

3 minute read

By Stavy Papasotiriou, Organisational Psychologist and Founder of Work Unlocked

In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, the importance of emotional intelligence, often referred to as EQ (Emotional Quotient), is becoming increasingly evident. While IQ (Intelligence Quotient) is undoubtedly valuable, it is emotional intelligence that often takes centre stage in the workplace. In this blog, we will explore the significance of emotional intelligence and why it matters more than IQ in the professional arena.


Emotional intelligence, as a concept, was popularised by psychologist Daniel Goleman in his 1995 book "Emotional Intelligence." It is the ability to recognise, understand, manage, and effectively use our own emotions while also being attuned to the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is typically divided into four core components:

  1. Self-awareness: The ability to recognise and understand one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and their impact on behaviour and decision-making.
  2. Self-management: The skill to regulate and control one's emotions, especially in high-stress situations, and to adapt to changing circumstances.
  3. Social awareness: The capacity to empathise with others, recognise their emotions, and understand their perspectives.
  4. Relationship management: The ability to build and maintain positive relationships, communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and inspire others.


Effective Communication and Interpersonal Skills:

In any professional setting, communication is a cornerstone of success. Individuals with high emotional intelligence are not only better at expressing themselves, but they are also skilled at active listening, which is essential for understanding the needs, concerns, and perspectives of colleagues and clients. They can navigate challenging conversations with empathy and diplomacy, fostering stronger, more productive working relationships.

Leadership and Team Dynamics:

In leadership roles, EQ is often more critical than IQ. Effective leaders need to inspire and motivate their teams, make tough decisions, and maintain a positive work environment. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are better equipped to manage the complexities of human interactions, leading to more engaged and productive teams.

Conflict Resolution and Negotiation:

Conflicts are an inevitable part of any workplace. Individuals with high EQ can address conflicts with empathy and objectivity, seeking mutually beneficial solutions. They are skilled negotiators who can find common ground and resolve disputes more effectively, ultimately enhancing team cohesion.

Adaptability and Resilience:

The modern work environment is dynamic and frequently subject to change. High EQ individuals can adapt to new challenges and remain resilient in the face of adversity. They bounce back from setbacks, learn from failures, and maintain a positive outlook.

Decision-Making and Problem-Solving:

While IQ contributes to analytical and critical thinking, EQ plays a pivotal role in decision-making and problem-solving. Emotional intelligence helps individuals assess situations holistically, taking into account the emotional and interpersonal factors that often influence choices. It aids in making well-informed, balanced decisions.

Stress Management:

The workplace can be a stressful environment, but high EQ individuals are adept at managing their own stress and helping others cope. They remain composed under pressure, which is invaluable for decision-making, team leadership, and overall well-being.

Client and Customer Relations:

In customer-facing roles, emotional intelligence is a crucial asset. The ability to understand the needs and emotions of clients or customers, and respond appropriately, can lead to increased satisfaction, loyalty, and business success.

Personal and Professional Growth:

Individuals with high EQ are often more self-driven and open to personal and professional growth. They seek feedback, learn from their experiences, and continuously strive for self-improvement.


In conclusion, emotional intelligence is not a soft skill to be overlooked but a vital attribute that can significantly impact one's success in the workplace. While IQ may open doors, it is EQ that enables individuals to thrive and excel in their careers. To build a truly successful and satisfying professional life, cultivating and nurturing emotional intelligence is paramount. In the ever-evolving landscape of the modern workplace, it's clear that EQ matters more than IQ.


Stavy Papasotiriou is an organisational psychologist and the visionary behind Work Unlocked — a leading HR consultancy on a mission to revolutionise employee engagement, performance, and retention in businesses worldwide. With a profound understanding of HR practices, Stavy leverages psychological principles to unleash the untapped potential of workforces. At Work Unlocked, Stavy crafts bespoke strategies that are grounded in research and tailored to each organisation's unique needs. These strategies are designed to yield remarkable results while requiring minimal resources.

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